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fever in acute HIV
Aug 15, 2006

Hello,

I had unprotected vaginal intercourse about 5 weeks ago. This past week I woke up with a sudden vague pain on the right side of my neck. I touched it and noticed that the node on that side was abnormally enlarged. It appears to have happened overnight. For the next 3 days I believe I had a slight fever, but nothing discomforting for me to worry right away. I had a slight sore throat for 2 days in a row when I woke up but quickly disappeared. The fever lasted about 3 days, and the node has decreased in size, though it is still palapable. Right now i feel fine, but the pain in the back of my neck where the node is comes and goes, mostly when I lay down. I have no sign of rash or fatigue. Is the fever in acute HIV high like the flu? Are the lymph nodes usually enlarged in other areas of the body as well, instead of just the back right side of my neck? Could these be symptoms of acute HIV?

This is my first post. I have scheduled an appointment with a doctor in infectious disease next week.

Thank you for your time.

Response from Dr. Daar

Thank you for your post.

The symptoms of acute HIV infection are extremely variable. Some people have very high fevers, such as with the flu, other do not. In addition, the lymph node enlargement during acute HIV infection is usually not limited to an isolated region. Nevertheless, I would agree that you should seek out medical attention and if you had a sexual exposure with a person of unknown HIV status you should have follow-up testing for HIV. Your physician can assess based upon your clinical findings whether this testing should be limited to antibody tests now and over the next 6 to 12 months or should include a viral test, such as a viral load, to assess for acute infection.

Best, Eric


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